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Zhang Urges Supporting Development of SMEs

Chinese Vice Premier Zhang Dejiang urged supporting development of small and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs) during his recent inspection of Jiangsu Province.

Zhang was in the eastern province from October 28 to November 1 to look into development of small and medium-sized enterprises.

"Some small and medium-sized enterprise face difficulties under the influence of the world economic turmoil," he said, urging close attention to the development of SMEs and efforts to help them overcome difficulties.

He also called on the SMEs to attach importance to innovation, quality, brand and reputation so as to improve their competitive power.

Zhang said the SMEs play an increasingly important role in China's reform and opening up and in economic and social development.

SMEs contributed to almost 60 percent of China's GDP, 50 percent of tax revenues, 68 percent of exports and 75 percent of new jobs every year.

SMEs, more than 95 percent of them privately owned, also made 66 percent of the country's patent applications and developed about 82 percent of its new products.

Since last year, many SMEs faced operating pressures, including a credit squeeze due to stringent fiscal and monetary policies and rising export costs as the yuan continued to appreciate.

Li Zibin, China Association of Small and Medium Enterprises president, recently called for government assistance to SMEs, noting SMEs will meet the most difficult period in the fourth quarter of this year and the first quarter of next year.

"The global financial crisis is set to affect the real economy, including the Chinese economy, and SMEs will bear the brunt," he said.

(Xinhua News Agency November 2, 2008)

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